Heart health resources - My heart, my life e

My heart, my life resource
Question & Answer sheet
What is ‘My heart, my life’?
‘My heart, my life’ is a manual for patients with heart disease.
It is the standard discharge resource for South Australian patients with acute coronary
The book has been developed to help patients and their families understand their condition,
aid their recovery and prevent subsequent cardiac events.
The resource provides comprehensive, up to date information, all in one book.
What is the aim of ‘My heart, my life’?
The resource aims to assist patients and their families to understand and manage their heart
health, recognise warning signs of a heart attack and to have an action plan if warning signs
Overall it aims to promote a good quality of life for acute coronary syndrome patients and aid
prevention of subsequent cardiac events.
What information is included in ‘My heart, my life’?
Information is provided on how the heart functions, heart disease and its causes. The
warning signs of a heart attack are outlined and an action plan is provided.
Hospital information includes text around common medical tests, cardiac procedures,
surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and emotions.
Checklists are provided to guide patients in their preparation for discharge from hospital.
Patients are provided with information to enable them to take steps towards a positive
recovery. Recovery information includes ways to reduce risk factors and to make healthy
lifestyle choices.
Support services and organisations are identified and explained.
The ‘Take action’ section is designed to be interactive. This section can be utilised as a
resource to aid discussion between health professionals and patients regarding their
recovery and risk factor reduction.
It can be shared with health professionals to record results, medications and progress in
reducing risk factors.
By utilising the charts and tables in the ‘Take action’ section, patients can take ownership of
their cardiac health and track their progress. It is important to inform your patients about this
section. Encourage them to take their copy to appointments and share it with their GP,
practice nurse, cardiologist and/or cardiac rehabilitation nurse.
‘My heart, my life’ provides a list of useful contacts and space for patients to record their own
notes, including follow up appointments and rehabilitation program details.
Who is eligible to receive a copy?
SA Health is funding this resource for all patients with diagnosis of an acute coronary
Specifically, these patients include those who experience:
 Angina
 Heart attack (STEMI and NSTEMI)
 Coronary artery disease diagnosed via coronary angiography
 Angioplasty/stent insertion
 Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery (CABG)
Who should give ‘My heart, my life’ to patients?
‘My heart, my life’ is provided free of charge to hospitals, cardiologist rooms and primary
health care centres for distribution to eligible patients.
All health professionals caring for acute coronary syndrome patients can distribute ‘My heart,
my life’. Often it is nursing staff who provide and explain the resource to patients in their
care. It provides an ideal tool to support essential conversations about cardiac recovery.
When should ‘My heart, my life’ be given to patients?
Ideally, ‘My heart, my life’ will be given to patients as soon as possible during their acute
coronary syndrome admission. Providing the resource early during the admission allows
time for the patient and family to absorb the information and ask questions. However for
various reasons some patients do not receive a copy during their hospital admission.
Cardiologists and primary care health professionals can now provide ‘My heart, my life’ to
any eligible patients who may have missed receiving a copy whilst in hospital. Clinical
discretion should be used with regard to when patients are given a copy. Evaluation shows
that relatives or carers will often read ‘My heart, my life’ before the patient and retain more
information. Feedback from country hospitals is that ‘My heart, my life’ has been very helpful
to patients and family prior to patient transfer to a city hospital.
A sheet of stickers (‘My heart, my life’ booklet provided) is provided with each order of ‘My
heart, my life’. These stickers can be placed in patient case notes to indicate when a book
has been provided.
What needs to be discussed?
‘My heart, my life’ can be used as a tool to open discussion with patients about their heart
Several short conversations may be more beneficial than one lengthy conversation.
Opportunities for ongoing discussion can arise whilst performing other duties, e.g. when
making a bed or performing observations.
There have been six information topics identified for discussion with all acute coronary
syndrome patients prior to discharge. The six steps to cardiac recovery conversations with
patients should include:
1. Explain diagnosis and procedure to the patient.
2. Highlight risk factors relevant to the patient.
3. Emphasise the importance of cardiac rehabilitation programs.
4. Promote medication adherence.
5. Education on warning signs of a heart attack and ensure patients are confident to
implement an appropriate action plan.
6. Encourage ongoing cardiologist and GP follow-up.
The back pocket of the resource contains a ‘Warning signs of heart attack’ and action plan
fridge magnet. Nurses have a key
role in going through this action plan,
especially if the patient previously
delayed acting on their initial
Research informs us that people who
have had a heart attack do not
respond any quicker to the warning
signs of a subsequent heart attack.
Knowing what the symptoms are and
what to do next time is critical
information for patients.
And last, but not least, the patient
needs to know this is their resource
to take home. Encourage your
patients to fill in their details inside
the front cover.
How can you feel confident discussing ‘My heart, my life’ with patients?
 The first step to improving your confidence is to read ‘My heart, my life’. It is appropriate
to record one CPD point per hour of clinically relevant reading.
 Follow the guide outlining the six identified steps to cardiac recovery.
 Access the ‘My heart, my life’ eLearning website:
 Refer to the Heart Foundation website: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/informationfor-professionals/Clinical-Information/Pages/default.aspx.
 Call the Heart Foundation’s Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87 for more
information or go to their website: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/how-wecan-help/Pages/health-information-service.aspx.
‘My heart, my life’ app
In 2014 an app was developed by the Heart Foundation as a support tool for the ‘My heart,
my life’ booklet and is now being promoted to patients and health professionals.
The app is free to download and is available through the App Store and Google Play Store. It
is suitable for iPhone, iPad, most Android phones and tablet devices and information will
sync between devices.
The app is patient focused to support medication adherence, including medicine reminders
and alerts. It supports management of health stats by recording weight, waist
measurements, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and emotional wellbeing. Education
about warnings signs of a heart attack and access to recipes is also included.
How can you provide information to patients with limited English?
If the patient has English-speaking family or support people available to translate, the book
can be provided to these support people, with explanation.
Phone or visiting interpreter services may be able to assist in explanation of ‘My heart, my
life’ content. ‘Warning Signs of Heart Attack’ and risk factor information sheets are available
in Arabic, Cantonese, Croatian, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Mandarin, Spanish, Turkish,
and Vietnamese on the Heart Foundation website www.heartfoundation.org.au.
What about rural patients?
Patients diagnosed with acute coronary syndrome are commonly transferred to Adelaide for
further investigation by a specialist cardiology team. If appropriate, ‘My heart, my life’ can be
given to these patients or their family prior to transfer. When this occurs, it should be
documented in the transfer notes so the receiving hospital is made aware the patient has
have already received their copy.
There is a proportion of rural patients who are not transferred to Adelaide. These patients
will receive their copy of ‘My heart, my life’ from their local hospital.
How long has it been available?
The resource was launched in July 2010 and was made available to Adelaide metropolitan
public, private (with cardiology focus) and rural hub hospitals in August 2010. These
hospitals were provided with training on the resource.
In October 2011 the strategy was extended to all hospitals across SA, with all rural hospitals
being able to order copies directly and have access to online training
Currently funding has been approved for all eligible patients in public and private hospitals
as well as primary care and cardiologists until June 30th 2017.
How much does it cost?
The resource is provided free of charge to eligible patients in South Australian hospitals and
the primary care sector, including via cardiologists and GPs.
This is a joint project between the Government of South Australia (SA Health) and the Heart
Foundation (SA Division). It is funded by SA Health until June 2017.
How can health professionals ensure that ‘My heart, my life’ is appropriately and
effectively utilised?
 Ordering ‘My heart, my life’ and ensuring that it is always available in primary health
care centres, cardiologist consulting rooms and in all hospitals with acute coronary
syndrome patients.
 Ensuring that all acute coronary syndrome patients in their care receive a copy of ‘My
heart, my life’.
 Ensuring that all acute coronary syndrome patients in their care understand how to
best utilise ‘My heart, my life’ as an interactive resource.
 Ensuring that all acute coronary syndrome patients in their care have engaged in a
conversation with a health professional, covering the 6 steps to cardiac recovery